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TelliSys Publishable Final Report TelliSys consortium TelliSys is funded within the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Commission 1
Intelligent Transport System for Innovative Intermodal Freight Transport
Project final publishable summary report
1. Executive Summary
The TelliSys Intelligent Transport System for Innovative Intermodal Freight Transport project was
launched to develop an intermodal transport system to optimize the performance of intermodal
logistic chains and contribute to a more efficient European transport. Intermodal transport is deemed
the best way to deal with the increasing transport demand in the European Union without having to
accept the negative ecological impact of the currently dominating road transport. Within the
interdisciplinary European consortium a complete transport system, consisting of a family of
intermodal loading units (MegaSwapBoxes or MSBs), a super low deck truck including new low
dimension tyres and a suitable trailer chassis have been developed.
In order to develop a competitive transport solution, the loading units are volume optimized to
compete with the transport volume of leading road transport solutions. This led to an internal height
of up to 2.97 m while keeping the system at a total height of 4 m to comply with European
regulations. Additionally, the members of the product family are designed to match the differentiated
requirements of specific market segments. This includes characteristics like openable side walls to
enable side loading, a liftable roof to simplify loading processes and varied stackability. The loading
units are carried by a new super low deck truck and trailer chassis with a fifth wheel height of only
850 mm. This height is 60 mm lower than currently available low deck trucks and was achieved by
completely redesigning the truck and the development of special low dimension tyres. The
consortium produced prototypes which were presented to the public as a proof of concept in 2015.
The prototypes were tested in multiple test runs through Europe and fulfil every necessary
During the three-year duration, the TelliSys consortium has closely worked together to present the
most suitable solution for the very challenging task: from the market and lead user analysis, to the
definition, design and construction of each component. The intermodal concept has been tested and
evaluated showing financial advantages - with cost savings of up to 15 % - over other current
transport systems and a 25 % reduction of Global Warming Potential, reducing significantly the
TelliSys generated a market-oriented intermodal technology concept that opens new opportunities for
intermodal transport in Europe and abroad which meets the EU's demand for more energy-efficient,
low-emission transport solutions. Transport solutions like TelliSys are required to cover the
increasing transport demand in the future and to reduce the load on the limited capacity roads which
will improve the situation for every European citizen.
TelliSys Publishable Final Report TelliSys consortium TelliSys is funded within the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Commission 2
2. Summary description of project context and objectives
The project Intelligent Transport System for Innovative Intermodal Freight Transport TelliSys
aims to optimize the performance of intermodal logistic chains. To contribute to more efficient
transport, the interdisciplinary TelliSys consortium (cf. Figure 1) develops an innovative intermodal
transport system, consisting of a family of volume optimized MegaSwapBoxes, a suitable trailer
chassis, a super low-deck truck and purpose-built tyres. The project was launched in December 2012
under the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Commission for a duration of 3 years.
Figure 1: TelliSys consortium
The increasing transport demand prerequisite for economic growth is still challenging the
European transport system. Even though the transport demand depends on the more and more
volatile economic performance of the member states, it can be assumed that there will be a
continuous increase of transported tonne-kilometres in the coming years. To be able to handle the
increasing transport demand without having to suffer from heavy ecological repercussions, the
multimodal logistic chains have to be optimized. A sustainable transport system in the European
Union can only be established with the help of the unused potential of the intermodal transport.
TelliSys Publishable Final Report TelliSys consortium TelliSys is funded within the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Commission 3
In order to tackle the outlined challenges, the European Commission published the white paper
Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area Towards a competitive and resource efficient
transport system - in 2011. This white paper provides a comprehensive strategy for a competitive
transport system that fosters mobility. At the same time, the white paper describes a vision to
drastically reduce carbon emissions in transport (aim is 60 % reduction of the 1990 levels by 2050).
To meet this goal, appropriate infrastructure and transport equipment is necessary.
Furthermore, the transport sector faces several challenges in terms of safety, traffic congestion,
loading processes and interoperability of available modes of transport. One crucial objective is to
optimize the performance of multimodal logistic chains, e.g. by making greater use of more energy-
efficient modes. Thus, the intermodal freight transport becomes more relevant over the next years.
The design of future intermodal loading units will be affected by this in terms of interfaces to
different carriers (e.g. road trailer or railway waggons) of the different transport modes. These
requirements have to be respected in future concepts for loading units.
In the current European freight transport many different loading units developed for specific
purposes and markets are being used. The trend for enhancing loading units goes towards
maximisation of the cargo volume and the facilitation of loading transhipment processes. Current
common loading units are shown in Figure 2. Some of them can be used in intermodal transports,
while others are applicable in just a single transport mode. Containers can be used in intermodal
transports, but are outperformed by the road solution Megatrailer in terms of loading volume. The
intermodal transport is in dire need of a competitive solution.
Figure 2: Intermodal loading units (source ACEA 2011)
TelliSys Publishable Final Report TelliSys consortium TelliSys is funded within the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Commission 4
A new loading system has to outperform the currently used units to have an enduring impact on the
transport sector. It has to compete with the ISO containers, regarding the widespread application
options, and with the Megatrailer in terms of raw loading volume. Therefore, the TelliSys consortium
conducted with the help of a multidisciplinary advisory board an extensive analysis of the current
market situation and future market needs. The technological progress in the transportation field and
the evolving markets had to be taken into consideration in order to develop a solution that combines
the different existing solutions for loading units, trailers and low deck trucks. Only if done right, the
developed solution can have an impact on the European transport market. This defines the 2 main
objectives of the project:
Development of a complete volume optimized intermodal combination satisfying current
market demands, including a family of new intermodal loading units developed to address
various use cases.
Enhance the performance of intermodal logistic chains and contribute to a more efficient
transport by easing the transition between different transport modes.
TelliSys builds on the results of the preceding project TelliBox, Intelligent MegaSwapBoxes for
advanced Intermodal Transport, which developed the first iteration of a MegaSwapBox, an
intermodal loading unit that combines the benefits of containers with the benefits of swap bodies,
incorporating the markets diverse requirements for intermodal loading units into one single concept.
Despite the success of the TelliBox project regarding market and customer interest, the evaluation
showed flaws that hindered its commercial success. To solve these issues the TelliSys consortium
identified that a single loading unit cannot address all requirements of every market segment and
decided to develop a family of MegaSwapBoxes. The members of the product family can address the
requirements of specific market segments. The new super low-deck truck unit and the purpose-built
tyres enable the optimization of the cargo volume by allowing up to 2.97 m inside height while
keeping the system below the 4 m maximum height on the road.
Based on the identified use cases, TelliSys delivers three innovativ